Story at a glance

  • CEO Sundar Pichai told Reuters the company aims to run on carbon-free electricity by 2030.
  • Many big tech companies have worked to reduce their carbon footprint and find renewable ways to power their facilities.

Google has made various strides and pledges in the green tech arena, most recently divesting from manufacturing equipment used for fossil fuel extraction. 

Now, Google is taking on a new initiative to run its data centers and offices on carbon-free electricity by 2030.

Speaking to a Reuters Monday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai says he will push the company to adopt more environmentally friendly technologies to offset the carbon dioxide emitted from the company’s data center and corporate office electricity usage.

Electricity generation has a massive carbon footprint, generating about 1.87 billion metric tons in 2018 alone. 


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“The problem is so immense, many of us need to lead the way and show solutions,” Pichai said. “We’re one small player in this but we can set an example.”

Sixty-one percent of Google hourly operations are currently powered by wind, solar and other renewable energy options as of last year, varying between offices and facilities. 

Some of the technologies the search engine behemoth aims to transition to includes using batteries to store solar power gathered during the day. The company is also reportedly looking into energy options using geothermal reservoirs to power its centers overnight.

“To plan 24/7 hourly being carbon-free in our data centers and campuses around the world, we see an enormous logistics challenge, which is why we’ve been hard at work modeling the last year how to get there,” Pichai told reporters. “And we feel confident we can get there by 2030.”

Shifting to carbon neutrality is a popular agenda item for large tech companies, with other magnates like Amazon and Microsoft making similar commitments to carbon neutrality, with varying degrees of success.


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Some of Google’s current environmentally friendly changes include using machine learning to cool its data centers with technology synchronized to weather patterns. Reuters notes that the company has also planted trees, bought renewable energy credits to further offset any lingering carbon output and invested in wind power.

For existing partnerships with oil and gas companies, Pichai said Google would “support everyone” and work on helping oil and gas companies transition to using renewable sources. 

Using these tactics and other new partnerships, Google aims to cut 1 giganton of carbon emissions each year from 2030.

The debate over climate change is a fixture in mainstream political discourse but has been further elevated since the wildfires scorching California, Oregon and Washington have polluted the air and killed about 35 people.


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Published on Sep 15, 2020